Gear Spotlight: Is the 24-70mm f/4 IS Canon’s Best General-Purpose Zoom?

Gear Spotlight: Is the 24-70mm f/4 IS Canon’s Best General-Purpose Zoom?

The 24-70mm zoom range is one of the most popular zoom ranges on any camera, and most manufacturers have at least one lens in that category. Canon’s 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom was getting fairly long in the tooth, and its replacement, the Mark II, has garnered widespread praise and accolades from users and reviewers alike. Lost in all of that was Canon’s 24-70mm f/4L IS zoom, which was released a few months after the f/2.8 version. This odd lens, which is, ostensibly, the replacement for Canon’s similarly long in the tooth 24-105mm f/4L IS lens, came as something of a disappointment. Why, people wondered, did Canon kill the additional 35mm of zoom range from this lens, and why would anyone opt for this lens over the sharper and faster f/2.8 Mark II? Well, I’ve been using this lens for the last few weeks as I work up a series of video articles for you folks, and I’m starting to think that this dark horse of a lens is a hidden gem. Bad figures of speech aside, there’s a lot to like about the Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS lens. Let’s start with the “IS” part. IS stands for Image Stabilization, and the 24-70mm f/4 lens, like many of Canon’s other lenses, has that. What’s unusual is that this is only the second lens in Canon’s lineup to feature the newer “Hybrid IS” system. Most image stabilization systems have the ability to compensate for movement or vibration in an up-down and side-to-side direction. Canon’s Hybrid IS system goes one step further, adding compensation for camera shift in both vertical and horizontal planes....
New Gear: The Fuji X-E1 Is Here

New Gear: The Fuji X-E1 Is Here

The Fuji X-Pro1 has been in our inventory for some time now, and we’re pleased to add its newer sibling, the X-E1, to our rental offerings. This younger, lighter, and smaller version of the X-Pro1 ditches a few features of the critically acclaimed (and very successful) X-Pro1, while adding a few welcome ones. Read on to find out what you need to know about the Fuji X-E1. First things first – the X-E1 is, as I just said, lighter and smaller than the X-Pro1. By weight, it’s about 25-30% lighter, but by size, the difference isn’t as drastic as I thought it would be when I bought mine (yes, I bought one not too long before we started carrying the X-E1 – figures!). The X-E1 is shorter than the X-Pro1, and while the difference isn’t great, folks with large hands will notice the difference. The X-E1 is also thinner than the X-Pro1, but again, not by much. The button layouts have also changed a bit. Fuji has relocated the playback button to the left of the display, but otherwise, everything on the back is about where it was on the X-Pro1. The X-E1 also retains the dual dials of the Pro, as well as the assignable “Fn” button on top. Besides the size and button layout, there are some other key differences between the bodies, so let me sum them up. The X-E1 doesn’t have an Optical Viewfinder (OLF). Unlike the X-Pro1, which has a “hybrid” viewfinder that can be switched from OVF to Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) mode, the X-E1 just has an EVF. It is a higher-resolution EVF...
BorrowLenses Reviews the Canon Rebel T5i

BorrowLenses Reviews the Canon Rebel T5i

First, a confession: I’m a Nikon shooter. However, the first digital camera I ever really learned how to use was a Rebel T2i (was a film shooter prior to that). I have had a soft spot for the Rebel series ever since, despite being currently married to a D800. They are fantastic cameras and the T5i is no exception but, to be honest, it just isn’t at all exceptional when compared to its 2012 predecessor, the T4i. In comparison to the T4i, the T5i… Maintains the same 18.0 megapixel CMOS sensor as its predecessor, the T4i. Maintains the same hybrid sensor that allows for that smooth and quiet continuous auto focusing in STM (STepping Motor) lenses. Adds Scene Mode to the modes dial. Also, the mode dial spins all the way around. Small change, but nice. Maintains the exact same LCD menu as in the T4i. Changes how one accesses the different Scene Modes. I feel it is now slightly more difficult on the T5i. On the T4i, you can select HDR Backlight Control, Handheld Night Scene and Night Portrait on the dial itself. On the T5i, the dial must be set to SCN and then you have to navigate between the above-listed scenes using a combination of the Q-button/print button and the scroll wheel. Boo to that. My personal theory for why they set it up this way is that now firmware updates can include new Scene Modes without the dial being considered out-of-date in its labeling. If Scene Modes are your thing then this could prove exciting for you. Maintains the exact same menu, info, and Live...
Blowing out the Background

Blowing out the Background

The image above was not shot on a white background. It has a minimal level of adjustment in Lightroom to it, mostly to clean up the edges, but that’s about it. It was taken in front of the greyish-blue wall in the lobby of the BorrowLenses.com offices in San Carlos. The thing about a relatively light-colored background is that it lends itself to a surprisingly large number of options for photographers. Though grey backgrounds work best for this, you can with some tweaking, turn just about any light-colored background — grey, blue, beige — completely black, as I demonstrated in this article on how to kill your background completely. In this article, I’ll show you how to blow out that background completely to make it look like you’re shooting in front of a white backdrop. The setup for this portrait was exceedingly simple. I placed one Nikon SB-910 in a Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe and one bare-bulb, with the included diffuser attached. The SB-910 in the Lastolite softbox was placed on camera-left, while the bare-bulb SB-910 was placed directly behind Ben, and slightly below the level of his shoulders. It was pointed up at an angle at the wall behind Ben, as shown below. I set the flashes to manual, making sure that the flash hitting the wall was about 2 stops brighter than the flash on Ben’s face. The diffusion in the softbox cut the power of the light on Ben by another 1/3 stop or so, I estimate. That was it. It took a bit of tweaking the power on the lights and the aperture for exposure and...
Capture Motion in Car Photography with these Shot List Tips

Capture Motion in Car Photography with these Shot List Tips

Interested in car photography? Jim Frenak, lead photographer at FPI Studios, recently shot the new 2014 Chevy Impala for Chevy’s West Coast PR blog. Read about how FPI Studios got the shot by pre-planning with a shot list and employing a couple of popular techniques for capturing a sense of motion. From the original blog post by  Jim Frenak (and edited by Sara Leeper), reprinted with permission: Shooting for GM As we have done many times in the past with GM vehicles, the crew at FPI Studios and I were recently asked to photograph the new 2014 Chevy Impala. The main purpose of these photos is for distribution to all of the media outlets to support any news or editorial stories that are written about the vehicle. Typical of other vehicle shoots, GM was looking for a combination of beauty shots as well as photos of the car in action. They wanted to present the car in an urban setting and a more natural location. It’s very important that the images define the cut-lines and body sculpting that make the new Impala so distinguishable. Then GM threw in one more caveat… Since the Impala that we were shooting was a pre-production car, there were a couple of rules that we had to follow. First, the car could only travel on private or closed roads. If it drove on public roads, we needed to close them down and hire police officers to block traffic. This severely limited the number of possible locations to shoot the car. Second, the car couldn’t be driven from one location to another. For each location change,...